Oral hygiene is an important component of a healthy, comfortable life for our dog and cat family members. When oral hygiene is not maintained, our pets experience chronic pain and detrimental effects to other body systems, such as the heart, liver, and kidneys. Dental disease ranges from mild tartar to advanced periodontal disease (infection and inflammation of the support structures of the teeth). Please have your pet’s mouth examined by your veterinarian if you notice halitosis (bad breath), loose or broken teeth, and/or swellings of the face, as these may be signs of advanced dental disease.
At Mackenzie’s Animal Sanctuary, our dogs receive regular dental disease monitoring, preventive dental cleanings under anesthesia, and dental extractions if teeth are abscessed or fractured. Although many dogs enjoy chewing on hard chew toys/bones, these products commonly result in broken teeth. Fractured teeth are a source of chronic pain and a door for bacteria to invade the tooth/jaw resulting in infections. Please ask your veterinarian which toys and treats he/she recommends to prevent dental disease and fractured teeth. The Veterinary Oral Health Council, VOHC, is a great place to start when looking for mouth-friendly treats (http://www.vohc.org/). Lastly, don’t forget that daily teeth brushing with a VOHC approved toothpaste is the best way to ensure a happy and healthy mouth for years to come!